Courage to be Curious with Adina Tovell

Rebalance Your Relationship for the Holidays

November 24, 2021 Adina Tovell and Lauren Kahn Episode 169
Courage to be Curious with Adina Tovell
Rebalance Your Relationship for the Holidays
Show Notes Transcript

What happens when a relationship is out of balance? The experience is intense: anger, frustration, blaming, and exhaustion. None of us like to live this way, but how do we get a relationship back in balance? On today’s episode, we talk with Ecotherapist, Lauren Kahn, about a model she developed called: Relationship Rebalancing… and it's just in time for the holidays!

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Hey, this is Adina, and I wanted to give you a heads up about this week's podcast with Lauren Khan on relationship rebalancing. Now this arrives just in time for the holidays, and we're really talking about that because whether we're talking about intimate relationships with our partner, or relationships with extended family, most of us could benefit from a little rebalancing this holiday season. So check out this week's episode on relationship rebalancing with Lauren Kahn, and get yourself ready relationship wise for the holidays. Hi, this is Adina here with today's episode of Courage to be Curious with Adina Tovell. And as you know, we are in November, and we are in the middle of you matter marathon. You heard about that with Cheryl Rice at the beginning of the month. And so if you didn't get a chance to grab that episode, go back and listen to Cheryl and you'll know exactly what the you matter marathon is. You can also go to you to marriage, you matter and check it out there, if you want. But the entire focus of this month, both in the marathon and in the podcast and in all aspects of courage to be curious, is to be thinking about the ways that we convey to people that we care about that they matter, and the ways that we convey to people that we may not know so well, that they also matter. How do we demonstrate this appreciation? How do we demonstrate to people that they matter. And so we're looking at this as we always do from the different strands, live, lead and love. And then the way we leap into action through the final podcast in the month, which is the one we had at the beginning of the month this month. But today's episode is focused on our love strand. And our guest today who we have had on in the past is Lauren Kahn, you heard her maybe a year or two ago talking about eco therapy. But she is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She's been in the field over 30 years. And if you missed the echo therapy episode, again, we'll provide link in the show notes go back and catch it because just talking about echo therapy was really fascinating. Got a lot of good feedback on that episode. But today in this trend, we're gonna be talking with Lauren about relationship rebalancing. And this is a model that Lauren has come up with and how apropos for us to be talking about relationship rebalancing, when we're just headed into the holidays when we're not only talking about our closest relationships at home, but perhaps our extended relationships as well. And so we're going to get into that. And so Lauren, thank you for being with us today and for coming on to talk on the podcast show.

Thank you for having me, Adina. It's great to be with you.

And Lauren, as we just sort of talked about we are right here at the beginning of holiday season. And thinking about relationship balancing is probably a really apropos this is probably a really apropos time to be doing that. Because relationships from what's been going on over the last couple of years could be very out of balance. So I'm excited. We're gonna dive into this. But why don't we both start by introducing to people what relationship rebalancing is? And how did you land upon this as an area of focus?

Sure, well, first, since this is the the month of appreciation, I just want to really appreciate you and our friendship and our connection that we have managed to keep alive and strong, despite some distance and moves and challenges and the pandemic. And I really want to appreciate you Edina for your courage and your commitment to the work that you do and to spreading the wisdom that you have in the world. And people are just very lucky to be able to be with you on this in this way regularly. So I really just want to appreciate the the work that you're doing and your commitment and courage to keeping it going.

Thank you.

That's the first thing that I wanted to just say. And I would love to share with you about relationship rebalancing. This is a model that has been growing and that I've been developing for probably about eight years and it literally just kind of as I know have this happens to you literally just kind of came to me one day. And what it is and has become is an approach to communication that looks at relationships as a balance between time types of interactions that we all have, that are disconnecting kinds of interactions. And I say that we and I call that, that their interactions that lead to despair. And we'll talk more about that it's a heavy word. And they're heavy kinds of interactions. And I talk about a cycle of despair, and a cycle of despair interactions, where we rehash, repeat reinjure, leading to defeat. And these heavy interactions, which I say are like the rocks and relationships are balanced by kinds of conversations that lead to repair. And those kinds of conversations are the conversations where we revisit, review, rebuild, and renew. And those conversations are kind of like the gemstones in our lives, right, that are small and polished. And they're, they're special. And they're harder to catch when tossed, and require, therefore, a greater consciousness and awareness of how we deliver those conversations and those gemstones to the person who, who were talking to. So it's presented as kind of a template, where on the despair side, we have those four interacts those four types of interactions. And on the repair side, we have those four types of conversations. And the idea is that we want to move from this in order to stay bounced from rehash, to revisit, from repeat, to review, from reinjure, to rebuild, and from defeat, to renew. So that's kind of the outline in the structure of the model. And we can kind of take it from there.

You know, I love that. And immediately when you started talking about what happens, those rocks that weigh down a relationship, because they're the things that injure and defeat, and you use the word despair. And I have to say that I know it's a powerful word, but it felt totally accurate. felt exactly right. Because the level of despair that comes when we feel injured by the person who's supposed to care most about us, or who we're supposed to feel closest to, it does cut that deep, right? It totally cuts that deep. And I immediately saw the balance. And I think, you know, I just want to say I'm sure you're going to talk about it, but from my experience personally and from working with couples is that there's always going to be some stuff on the injure side, we're probably never going to completely eliminate the inter side, right. And so that's why the balance is so brilliant. So thank you for bringing, you know, for setting the stage for us that way.

Well, it's interesting, because the way I work with this model with people is I begin by looking at those two words despair and repair. And for some people, that despair word is so heavy, and so painful, that they really have a hard time and they don't want to see it as despair. So one of the things I do to kind of reframe that word even is I say if you take the s out of the word despair, what do you get?

To pair the pair?

D pair pair? Now a lot of people would say, well, that's not a word, it's not, you're not going to find in the dictionary, I'm not quite sure why because if we find the word repair in the dictionary, right, repair, we have a pair we repair it, D pair would be just the opposite. We have a pair and we d pair it. Wow. So what I say is that those interactions are interactions that de pair us and do often lead to disconnection, distance, and ultimately despair.

I love that that's actually so brilliant. I mean, because when you first set the pair, I'm thinking the fruit, but that's not what we're talking about here. But they right. It's not even the same spelling, apparently

a ir because if you have the word despair, right?

Yes, absolutely. And that is what's happening. And it can have like it can happen in such a quick moment that Suddenly he felt connected. And now the connection, that pair is broken.

Yes. And I think that's really important because what I say in this model is that the things that happen on the despair side or the D parasite are driven by what we call automatic reactions, and they often do happen very quickly in a presentation that I've given for a couple times now for the American American

Marriage and Family Therapist.

I show in the beginning of my presentation, the opening scene from the movie Lady Bird. And if you've seen that seen that movie, you'll know that in that scene, it starts out with them very connected, they're actually in bed, sleeping, nose to nose, then they go for a drive in the car, they're driving home from a college trip, they've listened to a book together. And then all of the sudden, something very simple happens. And the director makes a brilliant move where the car actually turns in a whole new direction. And with that, the relation, the interaction spirals out of control. And in the end, Lady Bird launches herself out of the car, right out of the relationship all together. And it literally takes three minutes. So one of the things we see is that we see these despair interactions being driven by automatic reaction. So if we think about rehash, what might be some of the automatic reactions, that rehashing what comes to mind for you, Edina, when you hear that word rehash,

you know that you just keep reliving the thing over and over and over again. And you know, what I know just from my studies in neuroscience is like, the more you relive it, the more you retell it, the more you bring yourself back into the experience of it and your must embed it like a trauma a deeper in.

That's right. And they end those interactions where we really have rehashing tend to be kind of like finger pointing blame accusation you did that you did this. It's a it's an it's a back and forth kind of thing. And some of the automatic reactions, the main driving automatic reaction for rehashing tends to be anger tends to be anger, people come at one another angry. And I say that rehashing is like barging into someone's door without knocking and just going at it, you know, why did you write it's a very aggressive approach? Versus revisiting, which is more like knocking on somebody's door and saying, Hey, are you could I come in asking permission? Could I come in? Could we revisit that? Could we talk about what happened? Right? So rehashing is that kind of aggressive approach that leads very typically, right into repeat, so rehash and repeat when you hear the word repeat what comes to mind for you,

just again, and again, again, I get a picture of that record that you know, the needle got stuck, just kept repeating again and again.

Well, you and I actually remember that experience. Many people listening to this to this podcast, probably have no idea what a broken record actually even sounds like,

I know it's coming back, right.

But that idea, exactly that and that's where like in the Ladybird scene, they just start repeating it types of types of interactions that really had nothing to do with what happened that caused the the interaction to start going so badly, which was that ladybird just turned on the radio. And the next thing you know, they're fighting about things that have happened, that have happened in the past. They're, they're doing behaviors that they I am sure, and that you see later on in the film that they just do over and over and over again, eye rolling, criticizing, defending attacking, right, it's a real attack defend, versus what happens on the repair side. Now, let me ask you this. What does it take to repair something anyway? What does it take? What do we use?

Well, we usually use some kind of adhesive is what comes to

mind kind of adhesive? Or maybe it's a screwdriver or a hammer, I'm what do we call the things tools we use? No, exactly. So we use tools to repair things. So we use tools to repair relationships do and instead of so instead of repeating, we review, where we use the tools of looking again, of listening of what I say kind, calm and compassionate curiosity. And I want to just talk about this idea of really revisit and review versus rehash and repeat. Because appreciation, which is what we're really looking at is really one of the it's like the foundational tool for the entire repair side. So if we look at this idea of revisit, the first thing that you can do when you go to revisit after you find, you know, you ask permission, you find the right time in place, you know, just kind of springing it on somebody that you're ready to you really want to have this kind of repair conversation. But the first thing that's really lovely to do is to appreciate that person, because what it does is it reminds You have what you care about? What's important to you about that person about the relationship, what you like. So if I were going to be working with ladybirds mom, the first thing I would say is Well, what do you like about her? What do you appreciate about your daughter? And when I work with couples, that's the way I start my sessions with appreciation. What do we get? What do you appreciate about one another, no matter how long we've been working together, it's always a useful place to start with appreciation, with kindness, with gratitude, do Anna Marie Joanna Macy, who's one of my, you know, mentors and guides says that the first the first step to coming back to ourselves into coming back to our grounding is this idea of gratitude.

It's interesting, Lauren, first I, when I work with couples, I do the same. And, you know, it's interesting, because as soon as there's one of these D pairing experiences, you know, one of the first things I hear is like, I don't even know if that person is she or he likes me. Right? You know, that's where when there's been these deep herring and despairing type of interactions, you know, very often people say, Well, I don't even know if they what they like about me anymore. And I'll hear from both sides. And so beginning with that appreciation, because there has to be that, as you said, like, come back. And let's remember,

deed indeed. And the thing is that those interactions that happen on the despair side really are like the rocks in relationship, and they're big, and we bump into them very easily, we stub our toes. And it's just, it's hard to get around them. And if we can just kind of move to a place where we can gather some gemstones. As you mentioned, I do the ego therapy, and I do a lot of a lot of my sessions. And now with COVID, I do almost all of my sessions, outdoors. There's so many wonderful metaphors. And as and I work with couples, where we do this kind of thing, where we actually walk along the rocky edge of a creek and we'll pick up I'll have them each pick up small, little gemstones, and put them in a bag to notice how many of them it takes in order to balance out one heavy rock. And so sometimes it's a challenge because couples come to therapy in a lot of pain. And they have had a lot of these despair interactions. I'm working with a couple now we've been married for 30 years, and have had many, many, many injuries to their relationship. And it's taking a lot of conscious, kind and compassionate conversations in order to build up those those gemstones and recreate the relationship rebuild the relationship was just the next step to repair rebuild, versus reinjure. Every time we have another one of those despair interactions every time we remember and rehash and repeat things that happened 16 years ago, which often happens, right? You pull out something that come that we didn't want 16 years ago, you didn't ride the ambulance with me. That was 16 years ago. Let's talk about what's happening today and what we'd like to rebuild and what it's going to take to rebuild our relationship. And there we go. appreciation is again, the foundation of that taking, being willing to say, Let's rebuild, I want to read I appreciate your willingness to come back and look again, and rebuild, really try and create a plan for what can we do moving forward? How can we put that rock of 16 years ago? Over to the side? And how can we rebuild? How can we create a new template a new blueprint for our relationship? And what do we want it to look like? It's a really the time for for visioning. And being creative.

You know, as you're talking something that's coming to mind that I'm thinking about and I know is true is that we're never going to completely eliminate the frictions that can come between people, right. And I love when you said let's move the rock to the side. It's not like we were able to get rid of it out of the room completely. But we could take it out of the middle of the room.

Exactly right. And take it out of the middle of the room. So we don't keep running into it.

Right. It's still there. We might bump into it if we happen to be like, you know, move in different way. But I know that when I work with companies, and we're talking about building trust and relationship, we talk a little bit about this ratio of seven to one seven banked in the relationship that would come on the repair side, because you are going to bump in, you are going to bump into that rock at some point. And if you haven't built up a bank and a store of things that are in the renew and repair and restore side of the balance scale, then the weight of that one incident just pulls everything out of whack, and things can fall apart. And so, you know, this idea of, and then you just talked about it with metaphor, like how many of these little gems do we need, and from what I understand too, about the neuroscience, right, is that the injured thing is always going to resonate with bigger impact, which is why the gym that stones tend to be smaller, and we need more of them to counteract because just the way it works in our brain as those big things carry so much impact.

That's right, they make a deep impression. Right. And if we think about this, in terms of the Earth, if you have our rock in the earth, and you move it, it has made a big impression. It has made its mark, and there's a hole in the ground where that rock has been. And if you think about the idea of perhaps moving that rock, and then filling that hole with those gemstones, right, that that's what we really need to do. I talk about the relationship reservoir that we want to really try and fill that reservoir and what are some of the things and that's where we move into this idea of renewal. What are the actions? And you talked about that before? What's your what's your fourth thing, action? Moving into action?

Right, leaping into action, right, leaping into

action? What are the what are the actions that we can take that will Renu that will refill that will feel full and allow us to feel fulfilled in our relationships with others. And it really takes a willingness and an eye. A lot of people will say to me when I start presenting this will Doesn't it take two people to do that? And what if they're not willing to talk to me? That's true. It does. It does require a willingness. But sometimes all it takes is a willingness on the part of one to try something new. In a couple I'm working with I said she's she's for years now she does all the cooking, and all the cleaning and all the grocery shopping. And he sits in the other room. And then she calls him in for dinner. And I said, Well, maybe you could do something new, that she's gotten to the point and such defeat and despair and like disgust that she's just like, done, right? I say it's in the land, we're living in the land of the divorce. Right? And I said, maybe you need to send an invitation. Are you writing an invitation? Would you please join me in the kitchen while we make dinner together? Right? That may be by just one person making that shift in the way in which they're going to approach we often think, and I see this all the time in therapy. People's people say, Oh, I know what he's going to say. Or I know exactly what she would say, I know what she's gonna say. And the truth is, is that you only know what they're gonna say if you've tried it before. But once you try something new, you really don't know exactly how they're going to respond. And so renewal and allows for a certain element of surprise, and re creation. And I like to say that this word re creation pronounced ever so slightly differently would be recreation. Recreation. Isn't that interesting? I remember when I first noticed that I thought, wow, that's really cool. Right? Recreation. When we go to recreate something. It's actually fun. It's recreation. And I remember once walking out of a session that I was doing back when I was doing most of my sessions indoors, and I walked out and I was laughing after the session. And I said to one of my colleagues, that was fun. She goes, didn't you just do a couple session? I said, Yeah, I didn't, because that was fun. And a lot of like, people don't have that mindset. Because typically what happens in many cases in traditional therapy, is we go back into the room, and that's what happens in the room. We rehash, we repeat, we reinjure and we leave feeling defeated. And then people are like, Well, we tried couples therapy and it didn't work. That's like saying, I tried to play the piano and I couldn't write. So. But if we do go into therapy, doing the same thing sitting in the same place day after day, week after week, month after month, we often don't see the kind of loosening of the grip And the opportunity for change that I find is is more available when we do therapy outdoors. The big believer in groups growing for me all the time.

Yeah, which is beautiful. So let's talk a little bit more, I want to go into the tools a little bit more. And maybe we can link our conversation of the tools to the fact that here we are in November. And as if we are not all stressed enough, right, I mean, I don't know anybody, no matter how chock full your repertoire is of distressing things that isn't feeling the impact of just what's been going on globally, pandemic wise, environmental wise, political wise, wherever you sit, there's just been a lot of external things impacting on the individual. And now we're headed into another holiday season here, where we're encountering relate a time that in the best of times, can be taxing on all means of relationships, you know, primary partner relationships, as well as extended family. So I love it, we could talk about some of the tools there, and maybe their applicability to heading into this time.

Yeah, and I think one of the things that we that gets, we feel a lot of pressure and stress around is this idea of gift giving, and presence, and rap, you know, getting the right gift. And what I think about is what are those those tools can really provide gifts, right. And I think about the tool mean, the tool of appreciation is a great one, there are so many ways to express appreciation for the food for the time that people are taking for, and just the you know, just just coming in and showing some empathy, or some and just listening. These are gifts, these and these are tools that help to peep for people to reconnect, and feel a sense of compassion, gratitude, love. And so

Wait, wait, I have to pause and ask your question. Can I just jump in here? You know, I want to think as you're talking about appreciation is such a powerful tool. I want us to just pause for a minute, and maybe you give us some tips. How do we do that? Well, because you know, I can think of so many instance Well, I said thank you right? You know, so what makes something someone feel the experience of your appreciation on the other side? How do we do that?

Well, yes, yes. I think there are so many I used to say this to my kids, when they were growing up that it's more than just saying thank you, it's actually an action. It's a doing of something, it's a sharing, of giving, and it's a giving of your time of your attention of your listening of your presence, and of your of your support of your of your help, you know, offering to just when someone just gets up from the table and goes into the kitchen, and does some dishes. That's an expression of appreciation when your kid cleans their room before guests are coming, so you don't have to, as the mom go in and straighten up or yell at them to clean their room. That's an expression of appreciation. Just offering time. You know, can we go for it? Can we find time to go for a walk together, baby, even just the two of us. That's an expression of and when you that's an expression of appreciation, and recognition, and acknowledgement, that that might be kind of hard, but that that you know it's doing something it's a little bit difficult is a way to show appreciation.

I also think people can go back and flip over. If you've been listening, flip over to YouTube and watch this or go back and just listen to the beginning because of course you started this whole podcast episode when you came on and you said let me just take a moment to appreciate you. And if you were listening, you could people could hear the sincerity and the depth in your voice. You were slow. You were intentional. If they were watching. They would have seen you that you weren't distracted looking in other things you weren't just say it never came across as I'm saying this because I'm supposed to be saying But it was so genuine and heartfelt. You were looking at me and you were giving me this sense like you genuinely believe and every word and that you care about me deeply. And so if you miss that, and you're now at this point in the conversation at the end, you know, even go back and listen to that very beginning, because I thought you offered the gift of such a beautiful model of that at the beginning.

Um, I'm glad you appreciate it, because I do really do appreciate you. And I do think that that's something I know that we have. There's so much in relationships are constantly changing, constantly changing. And we think about siblings growing up and getting married and moving away and the separation and having their own families and having differences of opinions about vaccinations and who's going to come and who's not going to come and to be able to access even if there's a heaviness, that is a rock that is kind of present in the relationship to be able to access kindness, love, appreciation, people travel a long distance often. And to be able to really appreciate those who do that is really a gift to them when they arrive and they feel welcomed. Whether or not you might still be carrying around some resentment, or some difference of opinions, or even political differences, right. To be able to, as we've said, kind of set them aside. And one of the things I talk about in relationship rebalancing, I don't know Do you do any balancing activities, Idina? I know you practice yoga, right? Yes. And

you might remember, it used to do some circus things, and whether it involves a lot of balancing. Yes.

So tell me, what would you what would you how would you describe the sweet spot? When you're doing a balancing activity? How would you describe being in the what we once called the sweet spot?

You know, once you actually arrive there, you know, it's, I mean, the experience of being there is really like, you're floating in the space. It's, it's, you know, that you're really floating. But what I noticed I have to be doing is not trying but feeling that's really beautiful. You have to not be thinking I have to be sensing and feeling my best self in space.

Yeah, beautiful. That's exactly right. I'm a big skier. And I know that on the ski, there's a there's a sweet spot, where when you're in that sweet spot, it's just, it's just flowing, and it's exactly that you're in, I'm in my body, I feel relaxed. And so I say that in relationship rebalancing, there's a sweet spot for each of those four levels. So that the sweet spot from to move from rehashing to revisiting is that sweet spot of relaxation, it really helps if you're going to try and revisit something with someone or come back, it really helps to get yourself into a place where you feel relaxed. So maybe a few moments of mindfulness or just taking a walk yourself or just kind of taking a few deep breaths before that relative who you've had some conflict with is about to walk in your house, right to really get yourself to a place of relaxation, and calm, calm, quiet confidence, right, ready to just kind of be with that person and reconnect the sweet spot for review, to move from repeating the same thing over and over again, to beginning to take a new look, is the sweet spot of patience. Because if you think about it, in order to try and get someone to see the same thing you see, or to see something that you can see, I often use a nature metaphor here. If you see a bird in the tree, and you want someone else to see it. You don't go What's wrong with you? Why can't you see it? It's right there. You want to say more you want to be patient with that person and say, Well, if you look up, you'll see one tree that kind of branches off to the right. And if you look right there in the middle, ah, there it is. See that little red spot. It takes some time and some patience to really be able to see. So there's another tool really is the tool of patience. And then the sweet spot for rebuild, to move from reinjure to rebuild is that sweet spot of trust and faith that that whoever you're in conflict with cares about you in the same way that you care about them, and that they that you can trust them They really do want to rebuild, whether or not they've made he made maybe made the effort, they don't look like they're going to make the effort. But if you look at lady burden her mom and throughout that movie, they so much want to have a better relationship, and they keep trying. And if they could, if I was going to work with them as a mother daughter couple, I would really try and tap into that sense of trust. So there's another tool, right is this tool of trust. And if you can trust that things are going to work out, I actually had a conflicted relationship with a cousin of mine, we didn't speak to each other for five years, I always say she didn't talk to me. But I realized that I probably didn't talk to her either, right. And so we didn't speak for five years, and I just trusted, I just stay trusting that I love this person, and that she loves me. And that sooner or later, as long as we keep the door open, we are going to come together. And indeed We have and it's really a beautiful, we have a beautiful relationship, I was just at her wedding. And it's just very special. And it's and it makes our relationship that much more special. The fact that I was at her wedding needed so special, because we had had this breakdown in our relationship. And finally, the sweet spot for renewal, the sweet spot in order to move from defeat and resignation, and all those D words is the sweet spot of acceptance. And if we can just accept, accept the way things are, this is who I am. This is who they are going to work it out, can accept the way things are in this moment, with the hope and the intention of creating something new in every new phase of of the repair work. So those are the four sweet spots, patience, relaxation, trust, and acceptance.

That's beautiful. It's beautiful. And, you know, when you started, this conversation asked me about balance. And as I think about those four sweet spots, there's a piece about that's common and all of them is that I need to be willing to reduce the significance of my ego in all of them. Because as I was thinking about, you know, when we say appreciation, and what you did is there's this, I'm separating from myself and my needs and my experience and my thoughts, and I'm placing myself and my intention and my focus entirely on you. And so there's this willingness to let go of the rightness or the significance or the whatever of my own experience to be present with you. And there is no relationship unless that is true, unless we are willing to suspend ourselves at some point to see the other to connect with the other to move toward and I think embedded in all those sweet spots is a sense of I'm gonna maybe rebalance from how much has been about me to making space for you.

Yeah, well, I like what you said about right versus wrong, right when I like to say here's my one other little acronym that I use in this model, is I say that there's a car that drives relationships to despair, and another car that drives relationships down the road of repair. And the despair car is the car of see criticism, or contempt, a arguments and are right versus wrong. When we are stuck in right versus wrong. The wheels of that car are just spinning away and we're not moving anywhere good. Right, we're not moving in a direction that we really want to go right versus wrong will take you down the road to despair, whereas the car to repair for is the car of commitment. So we just look at what is our commitment to this relationship? Agreements? What can we agree on? What can we agree to do what can we agree that we won't do? And what are we willing to commit to in terms of those agreements? And finally, the our which I really do think is probably the most important tool that we can talk about is the tool of respect. And that when we respect one another, we we really can move towards repair. Whereas when we're stuck in right versus wrong, doesn't really go that direction.

I love it. You have offered so much wisdom and brilliance in this I mean in terms of the initial model of balancing, kind of understanding what are the sweet spots that get us there and then You know, what are the tools that we need to commit to, in order to keep a relationship balanced? And, you know, just wanting to re emphasize this is that healthy relationship is not one where we never bump into a rock. You know, the relationship is one, as you said, where we can keep things in balance in order to keep the connection between us.

Absolutely. Well, I

say that the closer you are to someone, the more likely you are to bump into them. Yeah. Yeah. So happens when you bump into them? Do you get angry, annoyed, frustrated, and feel defeated? Why do we keep bumping into each other? Or do you come with a sense of compassion and apology, and forgiveness, and a willingness to do things differently next time.

So I think as we're bringing this to a close, we've offered a lot for people to be considering as they're entering into this holiday season. And you know, you were talking about gift giving, but what I loved is a you offer people so many gifts that they can give the don't require that you go anywhere online to shop or to a store to shop. And you know, the gifts of our attention, the gifts of our listening, the gifts of our caring and compassion, the gifts of our doing something unexpected, that might demonstrate love and appreciation and caring. And so you've expanded the repertoire of our thinking.

And I want to just add there the gifts of nature, my daughter, when she was really little, went outside and she made this she took sticks and to me and and I still and it was this beautiful little, little


or this little creation, I still have it on my bookshelf in my bedroom. And I really look at it and I I'm not, it may be one of the gifts, the few gifts that she's given me that I still actually have and see all the time. And those gifts, it's, there's, there's something to bring something from nature flowers, or, you know, a beautiful rock or something that you've something, something that you've polished, a little gemstone are bright, something beautiful, there's so many, there's so many things that we can bring, that don't require going online and buying them and having them delivered by Amazon or right. It's like, there's lots of ways to give of our heart.

So I just have to share this with you. So the other day, my partner and I were on a repair, convert, walk, you know, a walk where we were having some repair conversations. And we each found something one was and I don't remember the name of the tree that drops leaves, but naturally form and many of them in like a heart, but this was like a perfect heart shape. So we were early in the walk and you know, I, you know, bent down and I picked up this leaf that was just an absolutely perfect heart shape. And then later in the walk, you know, she stopped and picked up and I'm trying to put them where can I put this. It's actually I guess from a video, like a grapevine. And it's got these two, you know, ends that are curled, and they're intertwined with each other.

Oh my god, that's so wonderful.

And it was just the perfect, beautiful thing. You know, the exchange, as you said, of these echo gifts with each other that and hers is sitting on the table like right front and center. I brought this into my office to have and so


So it's beautiful.

Well, there are you know, with the changing of the seasons going from, you know, the beautiful month, weeks of fall into the the winter where oftentimes people kind of holed up inside. My feeling is is that winter is just a beautiful time to get outside and to bundle up and to get close and to get really connected with those people that we that we love and cherish.

So I think that's what we're leaving people with, you know that question of, you know, how can you think about? Well, let me ask you, you pose the question, what would you like to leave people with at the end of this episode?

Well, I guess the question was for you, for you. What is it that most nourishes your relationship with people that you love? What brings life and energy? My one last acronym is that I believe that what breeds Life into relationships is a little bit of laughter, intimacy, food and engagement every day. laughter, intimacy, food and engagement and food being just sharing a meal together or making a lunch for somebody. And intimacy can be sexual intimacy, but really can just be tenderness and closeness. So just a little bit of each of those every day and you will breathe life into your relationships.

So Lauren, how can people if they want to connect with you or see where you are on the web? Where can they find that and if people are interested in any of the articles that you've written on relationship rebalancing, are they able to access those somewhere?

So my website is Lauren G con Kah. En, Lauren G. G is in good Lauren G. The articles that I've written one on relationship rebalancing is just currently just came out in the marriage and family therapy magazine, called MFT. And it's, it's and then there's another article that I wrote on eco therapy that I wrote at the very beginning of the pandemic, about ways to use nature to heal our loneliness, and all different kinds of things. So yeah, those are the two articles that you might want to look at. And again, my website is Lauren g I'm offering eco therapy and other kinds of supervision for therapists. And I have a move offering a five five session relationship rebalancing workshop for all kinds of diets, not just couples, but I've done a few now with mothers and daughters. Friends, relate, you know, siblings, so I have this new five session workshop, that is, seems to really be moving people and giving people some some nice tools to transform the way they manage conflict in their relationships.

Thank you. And you know, I imagine also of people do a search for the articles or relationship rebalancing. But you've given out many gemstones in this conversation today. And, you know, I think one of the things that people can, I think feel about you from listening to you now, maybe twice if they've been listening to the podcast, but I certainly experience is this gentleness that you have, and this open heartedness, like you show up in the world, and it's beautifully welcoming and open hearted way. And it comes through in your expression, the tone of your voice, the language that you choose, and the way that you receive people. And I have been so fortunate to be the recipient of that as a friend and colleague. So thank you, thank

you, I really appreciate that.

And if you are with us for the month, this is really the time you know, every single day, let's pause to really consider how we immerse ourselves in this experience of you matter. And it will be letting the people that you're closest to know that they matter in ways that are genuine and true. Taking that out into the world, wherever it is that you're going and how can we convey that to people that we don't know? And what if we made space to ship to convey that back to ourselves? What if we made space every day to remind ourselves that we matter? So continue on this journey of the you matter marathon with each day a renewal and to how you can bring that into your life into your relationships into your work and leadership space and out into the world. Thank you for listening and stay with us. Come back again next week for another episode of courage to be curious.

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